Good-quality leather boots are sturdy and often designed to last many years if not a lifetime. But they can still get scraped, scratched, and damaged, which can affect their appearance and shorten their life. All leather footwear needs periodic maintenance, and scrapes should be treated before they get any worse. Here's how to fix leather boots that are scraped.
How to Fix Minor Scrapes
If the scrapes on your boots are quite minor, it's easy enough to fix them and have them look almost new again.
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First, clean the boots. Use a general-purpose leather cleaner to remove dirt, dust, and oil. Next, warm the leather with the air from a hair dryer. This will make the leather softer and easier to work with. The air shouldn't be too hot; put the hair dryer on a setting that's comfortable on your bare hand.
Once the leather is warm, rub around the scrape with a soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. This should soften the appearance of the scrape and make it blend in with the surrounding leather. If this works and you're happy with the result, simply apply a leather conditioner. This moisturizes the leather and causes it to swell, thus minimizing the appearance of scratches. Voila! Your boots are ready to wear again.
If the scrape is still visible, you can apply a thin layer of unscented, uncolored petroleum jelly to the scrape and massage it in using a cloth. This should help soften and condition the leather and bring the color back to a shade that blends with the surrounding leather. If the scrape needs further attention, you could also apply a leather balm in a color matching that of the boot. Rub it in with a cloth, leave it to dry, and then apply a leather conditioner to seal in the color.
How to Fix Major Scrapes
If your boots are badly scraped with grooves or gouges (ouch!), they'll need some heavier-duty TLC.
Start by cleaning the boots well. Then take a leather dye kit in a color that matches your boots and mix it according to the instructions on the pack. Apply it to the scratched area with a sponge using a dabbing motion.
Next apply some heavy leather filler to the inside of the scratch or gouge with a plastic knife. You might need to work in layers, leaving each layer to dry according to the instructions on the packet before adding another layer. You can also use a warm hair dryer setting to speed things up.
Once the filler is completely dry, sand the surface with a low-grit sandpaper to smooth it down. When you're happy with the finish, dye the scratched area with more leather dye to even out the color. After that has dried, apply a leather sealer and then a conditioner, leaving plenty of time for each product to dry before adding the next.